Novak Djoković beat John Isner for the 12th time in 13 matches. This time, he outplayed the American in the third round of Shanghai Masters by 7:5, 6:3, and advanced to the quarter-finals.
The match started as we all anticipated – Isner serving 230 km/h bombs, and Djoković waiting for his opportunities. But every time these two play, the same thing happens – Isner starts the match playing well, but then Novak steps up and outplays the 34-year-old giant completely. And it was indeed what happened in their 13th match in Shanghai.
It was nip and tuck up until 5:5 in the first set. Isner was throwing bombs from the service line, while Djoković was trying to stay in the points for as long as possible. And it was his relentless defence that prevailed in the first set. When a motivated Djoković wins the first set, it’s almost impossible to turn the tides.
Right after winning the first set, he broke Isner’s serve and made a 2:0 lead. At that moment, Isner’s game fell apart entirely, and he started making a lot of unforced errors. On the other hand, Novak played solid, didn’t make many mistakes, and lost only a few points on his serve.
Djoković will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals. The two players faced each other twice – in this year’s finals in Madrid and the semi-finals of the Canada Masters 1000 last year. It’s currently tied, so the winner of that match will also take the lead in their head-to-head matchups.
To remind you, regardless of his performances in Shanghai, Novak Djoković will remain the world number one after the tournament. He is the defending champion, however, and could potentially lose a lot of valuable points, which might be crucial for his battle for year-end no. 1 with Rafael Nadal.